The Optimizer
A billionaire getting his credit card declined

“The first time, the clerk at the rental car company declined my credit card. Then confiscated it. When Cale tried to smooth it over, offering up his credit card, the clerk said he wouldn’t accept Cale’s card, either, because Cale was with me. Guilt by association.

Talk about your deadbeats. I couldn’t bring myself to look Cale in the eye. Here we were, a dozen years out of Stanford, and while he was an eminently successful businessman, I was still struggling to keep my head above water. He’d known I was struggling, but now he knew exactly how much. I was mortified. He was always there at the big moments, the triumphant moments, but this humiliating little moment, I feared, would define me in his eyes.

Then, when we got to the factory, the owner laughed in my face. He said he wouldn’t consider doing business with some fly-by-night company he’d never heard of—let alone from Oregon.”

Phil Knight
from Shoe Dog
As I write this, Phil Knight is worth somewhere around $25 billion. The 15th wealthiest person alive, Forbes tells us.

But, alas, our heroes weren’t always heroes. In fact, they achieve their heroic feats BECAUSE they are willing to go through phases of appearing to be (and feeling like) a deadbeat.

The walk to the Hall of Fame goes through (not around!) the Failure Hall of Fame.

Who better to bring the point home than Mr. Nike himself, Michael Jordan?

(Now, I know you’ve heard this quote before, but let the words sink in. See how YOUR missed shots are the reason why YOU succeed.)

—> “I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

One of the great things about Phil’s memoir is he shines a light on many of his missed shots and lost games. It’s incredibly inspiring to see the humanity involved in becoming the hero.

We echo this theme in so many Notes (see Choose the Life You Want + Blackbox Thinking + ...).

Successful people have a different relationship with failure. They see inevitable (!) mistakes and failures as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. They know they must learn to fail or fail to learn. It’s all in how we frame it. Let’s do so wisely. Fail fast. Get up. Learn. Get better.

How’s *your* relationship to failure and what can you do to optimize it 1%?
A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Phil Knight created Nike. This book is a *phenomenally* well-written, funny, tear-jerking, inspiring look at how he and his eclectic team of misfit geniuses made Nike one of the most iconic brands in the world. If you’re into sports, business and hero’s journeys, you’ll love it. I highly recommend it. Big Ideas we explore include: Crazy Ideas, victory, billionaires getting their credit cards declined (before they’re billionaires), optimal business, gratitude, luck and answering your calling.
Positive Psychology 101!
How to Tap into the Science of Optimizing + Actualizing
I LOVE the science of flourishing. In this class, we have fun exploring my absolute favorite Big Ideas from my absolute favorite psychologists. Life-changing stuff. The psychologists: Maslow + Frankl + Csikszentmihalyi + Seligman + Dweck + Baumeister + Ben-Shahr + Oettingen + Segar + McGonigal. The Ideas: Actualizer + Choice + Flow + Virtues + Mindsets + Willpower + Optimalist + WOOP + Why + Stress.
This is the sixth class in our Optimal Living 101 Master Class series.

We previously released: Leadership 101 + Conquering Anxiety 101 + Goals 101

Next up: Getting Stuff Done 101 + Stoicism 101…

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Optimal Living Micro Classes
How about a quick shot of optimizing awesome?
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill
Check out Brian’s Book
A Philosopher’s Notes
On Optimal Living, Creating An Authentically Awesome Life and Other Such Goodness
I wish this book was available 40 years ago when I was just starting out on my own life journey. I whole heartedly recommend it.”
– John Mackey,
co-founder & co-CEO of Whole Foods Market

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